Saturday, July 05, 2008

Two Pieces (dandle and dale)

A friend, Jen Lougas, and I agreed to do an exercise where we each write two pieces using two randomly selected words. She chose one and I chose the other using a website that gave random words of varying degrees of frequency of use.You can follow my link and read her two pieces on her blog.


verb (used with object), -dled, -dling. move (a baby, child, etc.) lightly up and down, as on one's knee or in one's arms.

He spoke with a thick, Dutch accent and in friendly debates with my uncle would preface his remarks with "Nay, nay." His blue eyes gazed intently beneath bushy grey eyebrows and his ears with their hearing aids stuck out prominently beneath his sparse grey hair. He would take a short afternoon nap in his leather recliner, snoring faintly. In the same chair he would dandle his smaller grandchildren on his lap, singing a Dutch song with accompanying actions, clapping small hands together, lifting little fists to touch our ears, swaying us gently back and forth. He would finish the song with our favourite part, swooshing us to the ground as we laughed. I can still recall the Dutch sounds, but only have a vague idea of their meaning. Opa walked with an unique, stiff gait, his strides quick and heavy as he moved through his fields. He enjoyed rug hooking and conversing with strangers, and served my Oma's lemon meringue pies in messy pieces with an accompanying "Yoop." He was a man of faith and deep conviction, and was interested in church politics, saving many volumes worth of Acts of Synod. He loved history and could recall seemingly insignificant incidents from his childhood in the province of Zeeland, the Netherlands, writing a book for his grandchildren about his life until he immigrated to Canada from France. It amazed us that he had once been a young man driving a Harley Davidson through the roads of France, and that he had once pretended to be a doctor in order to see my premature father at a Parisian hospital. I can recall the summer day I waited on the swing set at my grandparent's backyard with a knot in my stomach, steeling myself for when it was my turn to say good-bye. I remember his earnest words and the taste of salt as I kissed him for the last time.


a valley, esp. a broad valley.

If you are a mountain-top, a snow-capped

peak, towering in pristine beauty,

then I am a valley, a wooded

dale, overshadowed by your grandeur

If you are an ocean, a tumultuous

sea, teeming with life

then I am a shore, a sandy

beach, sculpted by your breakers

If you are a sunbeam, a luminous

ray, dancing on the water

then I am a shadow, a cloudy

darkness, eclipsed by your brilliance